Terms & Concepts in the Community Charter: Broad Powers
Section 8 of the Community Charter provides
various types of broad, or fundamental, powers.
- Section 8(1) provides the broad corporate
power needed by a municipality to manage its organization. Natural
person powers confer upon a municipality the capacity, rights, authorities and
privileges of a natural person, including such things as making
contracts, buying and selling property and providing assistance.
- Section 8(2) grants broad service powers to a municipality.
A municipality may provide "any service that the council considers
necessary or desirable." The way in which a service is
provided is also a decision that the municipality is empowered to
make (i.e. it can be provided directly by the municipality or
through another person or organization).
- Section 8(3)-(6) provides a municipality with
the broad regulatory powers needed to regulate activities
that take place within the community. A council has the authority
under these sections to regulate and/or prohibit and/or impose
requirements in relation to the services provided by the
municipality, and in relation to activities in a wide variety of
“regulatory spheres” (e.g. trees; public places; specified
disturbances). Most of these regulatory spheres are
autonomous; five of them, or aspects of them, are "concurrent"
(require provincial involvement before they are exercised).
Below is an outline of how the broad regulatory powers apply to the regulatory
The 13 spheres are:
- municipal services
- public places
- firecrackers, fireworks and explosives
- bows, arrows, knives and other weapons
- cemeteries and crematoriums
- health, safety or protection of persons in
relation to specified matters
- protection of the well-being of the community in
relation to specified nuisance and disturbance matters
- public health
- protection of the natural environment
- animals, including wildlife
- buildings and other structures
- removal or deposit of soil
The broad powers conferred on municipalities
are not absolute; specific limitations are identified in subsequent
sections of the Community Charter, in particular the sections
contained in Part 3. As well, other parts of the Community
Charter and other legislation may limit broad powers. Even with
these limitations, however, the broad powers are considerable. They
give effect to the Community Charter's core vision which is
based firmly on the belief that municipal councils should have the
authority they need to make local decisions locally and thereby best
serve the interests of their communities.
Please direct questions or comments to
Advisory Services Branch.